Thursday, July 2, is UFO Awareness Day. People all over North Carolina have reported seeing things in the sky they just can't explain.
An unidentified flying object thought to be intergalactic spacecraft was caught on closed-circuit television in 2009. Residents of North Carolina have made multiple reports to the National UFO Reporting Center.
Thursday is a stellar — make that interstellar? — day for folks who like to search for strange lights and movements in the sky. It’s UFO Awareness Day, and witness accounts from North Carolina indicate there’s plenty to see in the heavens.
The National UFO Reporting Center has hundreds of reports of unidentified flying objects, piquing the curiosity of folks fascinated by the possibility that we’re not alone here on Earth and aliens from another galaxy are circling the planet in strange-looking spacecraft.
The notion of intergalactic travel got a boost when information emerged from the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, a shadowy $22 million Defense Department program that began in 2007 to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena. The multi-year program was shut down in 2012, but the Pentagon released UFO videos earlier this year.
The Pentagon acknowledged the secret program to investigate UFO sightings in 2017, the same year as retired naval Cmdr. David Fravor dramatically recalled a confounding encounter with a UFO when he was conducting a training mission off the coast of California in 2004.
The wingless oblong craft about 40 feet long was flying erratically through his airspace at incredible speed, maneuvering in a way that defies accepted principles of aerodynamics. Fravor didn’t know what to make of it but said it was not like anything he had ever seen in nearly 20 years of flying.
He described the UFO as other-worldly.
“I can tell you, I think it was not from this world,” Fravor told ABC News. “I’m not crazy, haven’t been drinking. It was — after 18 years of flying, I’ve seen pretty much about everything that I can see in that realm, and this was nothing close.”
Not all accounts are that dramatic, but there are more than a few head-scratchers among the witness accounts.
So far in 2020, 227 UFO reports have been filed from North Carolina, according to an analysis of the witness accounts by Satellite Internet, which also factored in data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Some of the more interesting ones include:
- On May 1, a person reported seeing three to four “super bright orange orbs” over Carolina Beach, North Carolina. “They disappeared, waited and about 10 minutes after, four more appeared and made a diamond formation,” they said. “After 20 minutes after the orbs went away, military helicopters flew over my house heading to the sea.”
- On April 28, a report was made in Wilmington that 10 lights, equally spaced, were flying in a straight line before disappearing at the same point in the sky. “There were no navigation or strobe lights typical of aircraft,” the person said. “The lights moved without sound at an un determined altitude. I’m guessing the lights were around the same altitude of normal aircraft or higher. Approximately 45 minutes later a jet aircraft flew over South to North with normal aircraft lights and noise. After the lights had passed we heard rumbling noises similar to thunder, but the weather was clear and local weather radar showed no precipitation.”
- On April 23, a person reported seeing an orb flying above the suburbs of Chapel Hill: “Was out with a group of friends to watch the meteor shower. Never saw any meteors, up and ahead of us we spotted a white circular (object?) shape move east. It was very, very high up and hard to discern what it was, but it wasn’t blinking like a plane and it was way too high and far away to be a drone… It moved organically — a bit strange — as if someone was drawing on the sky with a laser pointer. It proceeded in that direction for about a minute, second by second a different person in our group noticing it until it became so dim it was gone. About 10 minutes later, we saw a bright white flash / explosion around the same area it originated. Never seen anything like this!”
You can read more UFO sightings from North Carolina on the National UFO Reporting Center site.
The Satellite Internet analysis shows that the number of UFO sightings during the first three months of 2020 increased 112 percent from the same period a year earlier. North Carolina ranked No. 41 for UFO sightings in that analysis.
Your chances of seeing a UFO are better in some places than others. According to the ranking of states, those with the most sightings are:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
The states with the fewest sightings are:
- New York
UFO hunting has been a popular pursuit in the United States since the mid-20th century, when Kenneth Arnold, a businessman piloting a small plane, filed the first well-known report in 1947 of a UFO over Mount Rainier in Washington. Arnold claimed he saw nine high-speed, crescent-shaped objects zooming along at several thousand miles per hour “like saucers skipping on water.”
Although the objects Arnold claimed to see weren’t saucer-shaped at all, his analogy led to the popularization of the term “flying saucers.” And since then, Americans have been more or less obsessed with the idea that alien life is among us.
Former Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid slipped in an earmark for the program into the Pentagon budget. Nevada, of course, is the home of a U.S. Air Force facility known as Area 51, the source of multiple alien conspiracy theories, including claims that interstellar visitors are held there; that the 1947 Roswell crash wasn’t a weather balloon at all but a Soviet aircraft piloted by mutated midgets; and that the 1969 moon landing was filmed by the U.S. government in one of the Area 51 hangars.
Yet among the most intriguing is Fravor’s account of seeing the unidentified aircraft zipping through the sky is convincing.
When he saw the object from the air, controllers on one of the Navy ships on the water below reported that objects were being dropped about 80,000 feet from the sky, then headed “straight back up.”
He could see the disturbances on the water below and breaking waves on the surface, “like something’s under the surface,” he told ABC.
The radar jammed, and as Fravor flew closer, the craft rapidly accelerated and zoomed upward and disappeared. Once the object was gone, the ocean below was a still sheet of blue with no evidence of disturbance. Infrared scanning also showed no evidence of an exhaust trail, he said.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said at the time. “I don’t know what I saw. I just know it was really impressive, really fast, and I would like to fly it.”